IBM selling retail sales technology unit to Toshiba

Posted April 17, 2012

— IBM (NYSE: IBM) on Tuesday announced its plans to sell its Retail Store Solutions unit, which employs about 650 people in the Triangle, to a subsidiary of Japan-based Toshiba Corp. for $850 million.

The RSS unit produces and supports point-of-sale systems for retailers worldwide. It generated about $1.15 billion in revenue last year.

There was no word on any impact to RSS employees, although IBM and Toshiba TEC Corp. will form a holding company in Japan to oversee point-of-sale operations globally. U.S. operations for the holding company will be based in Raleigh and led by Steven Ladwig, the general manager of RSS for IBM.

Toshiba TEC will buy out IBM's 19.9 percent stake in the holding company after three years, officials said.

Once the RSS sale is completed in the early third quarter, Toshiba will become the global leader in point-of-sale systems, officials said.

As part of the transaction, Toshiba TEC Corp. will enter into a multi-year agreement with IBM in which Toshiba TEC will become a partner for IBM's Smarter Commerce initiative, officials said. Big Blue launched the effort last year to help businesses automate and infuse intelligence into their procurement, marketing, sales and customer service functions, making them more agile in the era of informed online customers and mobile and social networks.

"Together, IBM and Toshiba TEC represent the broadest multi-channel offerings worldwide," Craig Hayman, general manager of industry solutions for IBM Software Group, said in a statement. "The pace of retail expansion requires a strategy to serve this dynamic marketplace. This acquisition by Toshiba TEC creates not only the world’s leading point-of-sale company, but also a key business partner for IBM in its strategically important Smarter Commerce initiative. Retailers can invest with confidence in the proven abilities of these two leaders to deliver multi-channel commerce to more demanding consumers who want the same experience shopping online, in-store, mobile, social or by any other means."

Toshiba TEC said it plans to use the RSS unit and its printing business to create business opportunities in the retail market, from mass merchandisers to convenience stores to fast-food restaurants.

“The opportunities in retail store solutions are expected to grow by increasing demand in (point-of-sale) systems. In addition, demand for multi-channel integration and enhancement of store back-office management accelerates further expansion of sales,” Mamoru Suzuki, Toshiba TEC president and chief executive, said in a statement.


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  • silkesmom Apr 17, 2012

    At least they didn't sell it to a communist country.

  • EverythingTicksMeOff Apr 17, 2012

    Amen, whatelseisnew. They have led the point of sale industry for most of their existence. Now Toshiba will probably run it into the ground.

  • whatelseisnew Apr 17, 2012

    What a shame. this was and is an excellent business unit. Despite often being handcuffed by foolish corporate decisions, they produced an excellent suite of products. They have made a good deal of money for the company, but the drive is for margins and I expect the higher ups do not see the growth potential or margins they want. tis a shame.

  • jcthai Apr 17, 2012

    nymamiyankee, it's not their strategy and execution that has put them in the toilet. It's their total lack of respect for their employees. There will always be people willing to do their bidding, so I don't fear for the company itself. It's just that it isn't IBM anymore and if they were honest they'd acknowledge it by changing their name.

  • jcthai Apr 17, 2012

    The sale price can be bumped up by about $1 million because they have confirmed that those of us sold out will not be getting the $1000 bonus that Sam Palmissano promised us if we were still with the company in 2014. Nice move....

  • nymamiyankee Apr 17, 2012

    As an ex-IBMer with 18 years, i can see IBM in the toilet, just waiting for someone to flush it away. Such a good company years ago...

  • ponosbybrittobe Apr 17, 2012

    On a positive note, the flight to Tokyo is shorter than the flight to Beijing.

  • aliasmangler Apr 17, 2012

    It's a shame that this is old news since Toshiba made the announcement and Reuters ran the story yesterday Even worse is that's how the IBM employees found out about it yesterday, instead of from anyone at IBM.